NBA Preview 2013: Denver Nuggets

Denver-Nuggets-White-Logo-WallpaperIt’s another day, which means more NBA previews need to be done, here at the Sports Script. Yesterday I did the Dallas Mavericks and out first playoff team in the Atlanta Hawks, so make sure to read them along with all the others. Today we have a team that had major overhaul happen in the front office and coaching, but the roster stayed relatively the same. Let’s talk about the Denver Nuggets.

Key Additions: Randy Foye (Signed via Jazz) J.J. Hickson (Signed via Trail Blazers) Nate Robinson (Signed via Bulls) Darrell Arthur (Signed via Grizzlies) Brian Shaw (Coach) Tim Connelly (General Manager)

Key Departures: Andre Iguodala (Warriors) Corey Brewer (Timberwolves) Kosta Koufos (Grizzlies) Julyan Stone (Raptors) George Karl (Fired), Masai Ujiri (Fired, Raptors)

Projected Starters: PG Ty Lawson, SG Evan Fournier, SF Danilo Gallinari, PF Kenneth Faried, C Javale McGee

The Nuggets went from a 57 win team last year in the west, with one of the game’s most respected coaches in George Karl, and one of the most successful GMs in Masai Ujiri, to having neither of them this offseason, lose Andre Iguodala for nothing, and have no idea what to expect next. This all came about because of a rough postseason series versus the Warriors in round one. You don’t fire a potential coach of the year candidate after a 57 win season, that’s just dumb. But they were fortunate to grab one of the most underrated assistants in the NBA, in Brian Shaw and made him a head coach for the first time. New GM Tim Connelly added a bunch of nice role players in Randy Foye, JJ Hickson, Nate Robinson and Darrell Arthur, but nothing to actually suggest this team will be any better  from last year, and with the west loading up with the likes of Dwight Howard, the Nuggets fell behind in the arms race, not to mention those signings weren’t for the best prices either. It was a very confounding offseason, and I will expect the season to continue like that because of all the new stuff that happened.

The starting lineup remains essentially the exact same, save for one big hole at the shooting guard position. Andre Iguodala left for big money with the team that knocked them out of the playoffs, and left the Nuggets with a big whole in their lineup. Evan Fournier is a very serviceable player, and should do fine, but he’s just not on the level of Iguodala, and the Nuggets will struggle to replace his perimeter defense, and cover up for Lawson’s defensive deficiencies. Speaking of Lawson, he’s one of the most underrated point guards in the league, and should continue to put up great numbers, despite the fact that he’s a hinderance on defense because of his size. Danilo Gallinari is back after missing the end of last season, and should pick up where he left off with one of his best seasons so far. Great shooter, and scorer in general, Gallinari will have another big season, if he can stay healthy for the entire year. Kenneth Faried was exposed a bit as a player who doesn’t have much offensive upside, to go along with his incredible rebounding and good defense. I don’t expect much improvement from Faried, but that’s fine because he’s still a plenty good player, and is easily starting quality. The big question in the starting lineup outside of shooting guard, falls on Javale McGee and whether or not he can be a starting center in the NBA. After he was brought over from Washington, he didn’t get nearly as much playing time as the front office thought, and that’s part of the reason Karl was fired, as he didn’t love McGee because of his mind numbingly dumb play at times, and I don’t blame him.

The Nuggets are solid all the way through their lineup, but still don’t have a star to lead them since Carmelo Anthony left a few years ago. They should still look good at times, and their depth is fantastic which will help them win some games, but that’s about it. They made some unnecessary, rash decisions getting rid of Karl and Ujiri, and will pay for it, with a missed playoff season. Then where do they go?

Final Prediction: 41-41, 9th Western Conference

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